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The Real War

Series/Special. A discussion of the book 'Vietnam: The Real War -- A Photographic History by the Associated Press.' (Stereo)

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U.s. 8, Afghanistan 7, Us 5, Lyndon Johnson 3, Julie 3, Julie Jacobson 3, Peter Arnett 3, Kennedy 3, Vietnam 3, Johnson 2, Eisenhower 2, United States 2, Malcolm Brown 2, America 2, Cambodia 2, Viacom 2, Ap 1, The Ap 1, Ap Bureau 1, Roosevelt 1,
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  CSPAN    The Real War    Series/Special. A discussion of the book 'Vietnam: The Real  
   War -- A Photographic History by the Associated Press.'...  

    December 1, 2013
    7:00 - 8:06pm EST  

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booktv.org. >> here's a look at some of the best-selling nonfiction books according to "the wall street journal" reflecting sales as of november 17. .. >> the authors discuss their books from the miami book fair international, and you can see
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it on booktv.org. to mark the start of the christmas season, the fifth book is the elf on the shelf, a christmas tradition put together by a mother and daughter duo. fixed on the bestseller lists is the bully pulpit written by historian doris kearns goodwin, focusing on the relationship between roosevelt and taft. booktv covered an event you can watch online. number seven is human miracles and the author provides advice for spiritual healing and empowerment. and the guinness world records 2014, it is number eight. the latest book from malcolm gladwell. you can see the book at booktv.org. finally, at number 10, sarah palin, good times and great joy, which highlights the importance of great values during the holiday season and these are some of the best-selling
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nonfiction books according to "the wall street journal." >> peter arnett and julie jacobson talk about the associated press and the photographic history of the vietnam war and the state of war photography today. the book vietnam, the real war, includes 300 photographs by photographers. >> hello, thank you for coming on tonight. i was a child during the vietnam war and living in turkey when my dad was reporting for the armed forces radio. he remembers the war much more vividly than i do. but for both my father's generation and for my generation, the water is preserved for our reflection and study and it is captured by some of the most impressive journalists on the planet for the associated press. over the period of the vietnam
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war, the ap 16 pulitzer prizes for photography and some of the greatest names are the ap bureau, malcolm brown, peter arnett, eddie adams and george esper and julie jacobson just to name a few. now at almost the 50th anniversary of the war, the ap has put together the images to tell the story of the conflict in vietnam that broke vietnam as a real war, a photographic history which is a collection of 300 of these images in the book "vietnam: the real war - a photographic history by the associated press." we are thrilled to have some of the correspondents joining us tonight, as well as a few photographers that have covered modern-day wars to talk about these images from vietnam. they our correspondent peter
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arnett, who covered the vietnam war for 13 years and julie jacobson, who has worked as a photographer for the associated press since 2001 and has covered everything from the olympics to wars, including a rock and afghanistan. also, santiago lyon. [applause] director of photography for the associated press responsible for the ap global photo reporting and the hundreds of photographers and editors worldwide who produced it. if you take pictures, you want to suck up that i. [laughter] and finally, huynh "nick" cong ut, who was born in vietnam. joined hp in saigon at the age of 14 years old after his brother, who is also an accomplished photographer was killed covering the war. he is best known for the iconic photo that he took of a man
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running naked and burned from a misdirected their way. many of the photos in tonight's book taken by him. it's an impressive panel of journalists whose experiences total decades and are collected in some small part in this wonderful book. please tell me to give a warm welcome to the photographers of the associated press. [applause] >> okay, we are going to run through some pictures here and have a little conversation appear as well so everyone can see. [applause]
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[inaudible conversations] [pictures being shown] >> you cannot see the dates there. [inaudible conversations] [pictures being shown] [pictures being shown] [pictures being shown]
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[inaudible conversations] [pictures being shown] [pictures being shown] [pictures being shown] [pictures being shown]
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[pictures being shown] [pictures being shown] [pictures being shown]
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[pictures being shown] [pictures being shown] [pictures being shown]
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[pictures being shown] to look to wound. [laughter] wound. [laughter] up with with with with with to wound. [laughter] up up up up up up up up up up up up up up and he as you can tell, this is what we are gathered here to talk about this evening, i thought it might be useful to put this work into a little bit of context those that say it is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1846 as a way for newspapers to share the costs and the logistics of coverage of that conflict. the ap sends 1846 halves cover
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just about every conflict known to man. so we have a very intimate and intimate relationship to army conflict around the world. the cooperative is owned by about 1500 u.s. newspapers and they pool their resources together through the fees that they have for the access to the content and the sharing of their own content to provide important and detailed images and just about every country that you could name. a never ending stream of photographs and they are an institution in journalism. the coverage in vietnam was extraordinary because of the commitment that the ap made to covering that story and the dedication of the journalists
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who were assigned to vietnam and many stayed there for years and years and journalists are typically assigned tours of anywhere from six weeks to two months and the journalists who covered the vietnam war for the ap would stay for many years and as a result, they named a very intimate knowledge of what was going on in the country and who the players were and how to access things and this was coupled with an extraordinary dynamic that existed that facilitated the access to journalists in a way that has probably been seen in warfare and may not be seen again which is not to say they could show up at the military bases and essentially if the pilot of that helicopter award airplane was
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willing and most of the time that they were, they could jump on a helicopter and go there and photograph it and jump on another helicopter and come back and drop the film often send some pictures and about the very next day if they felt up to it if they felt like sit and that level of access is very different from the level of access that you have today, possibly because the flow of information around the world is so much faster and so much more voluminous now than it was then that the protagonist of many stories nowadays seek to control that information in a much more direct and demanding way, whereas in the vietnam era, it was quite a different dynamic than applied. so i thought that i would start a brief conversation here with my fellow panelists before opening this up to questions. tina informed us that the questions here tend to be good
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and robust and frequent and animated and thoughtful and precise and so that is what we are counting on when we stop talking here. and i thought that i would kick it off by asking the panelists if they had a particular photograph in the book, one of the ones that we have just seen projected, perhaps not, but they would like to talk to you either because it meant something to them personally or it worked for them on some level and i thought that i would start off with the dean of the panel, mr. arnett. >> thank you very much, and it's my pleasure to be here and my daughter lives in berkeley and i am a visitor to this area and i'm going to be back in the bookstore again and next week as well. having said that, i was one of those who spent a lot of time
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who went there at age 26 and in 1962 i stayed for nine years, i got married there, i got two children bear and there and i kept going back until the fall of saigon and stayed with two other colleagues until the communists took over. and you might say that that sounds crazy. the one i'd wanted to be a journalist, it was not uncommon for american correspondents to be in bureaus away from home for about three years, based in tokyo or maybe based in congo or afghanistan and we have traveled around since the 1950s. so this is a time that you have to think of, sort of a period of time and the pictures that were
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taken were simple film processed and sent by what we call radio photo and sometimes analogous in a little six by four picture and you just don't have the kind of facilities that are available to everyone, photographers like julie today. but there was another effect in place in vietnam and that in the u.s. tradition of more coverage, the military and the u.s. government had a lot of influence in what appeared to be in magazines and on radio and on vietnam television. so as the experience began, the u.s. government from president kennedy in particular and president john johnson made it their job to lobby to lobby with
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television and directives to shape the image coming out of vietnam and because of the nature there was never a declared war and there was a limited engagement beginning with advisors and then american troops and smaller groups finally becoming a large army of half a million. and this was never a conflict in which the u.s. government felt that it could impose the kind of censorship that was common in world war ii and korea and in that censorship, the journalists would be obligated to run photographs and written material and also publishers at home would be expected to take a
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patriotic look at what was going on or in overseas commitment. so when i go in 1962, i was joined by a group of american journalists who were very unique at that time. all of them graduates from ivy league universities and probably the first to actually enter the cross of news reporting and they took it as a much more pragmatic approach as to what was going on in vietnam, and it covered the civil rights development and the development in the american south, and some others have been in africa as well. and we all had military training
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and so as the conflict began, we had journalists who know a lot about the world and the military and had taken a very healthy, you know, view of the role of the journalists that has been challenging to government or challenging to authorities that fits under the traditional role as challenging authority to see what is really going on. and it was then and that environment in which the pictures and the news started coming out in vietnam and we discovered this, that the vietnamese that we met were very candid about what they were facing and many of them were our age were very candid about this as well about what they felt and what they saw and therefore we felt that we were getting a clear picture of what was emerging as the conflict grew in
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size. our vision differed markedly from the kennedy administration was hoping for and definitely from the johnson administration as well, president kennedy late in 1972 found the editor of "the new york times" and found that he help us go back to the united states because his reporting was dangerous to national security. and president lyndon johnson on two other occasions approached the ap executives to have me removed from the war area and there was lots of other influence, particularly on television owners and important owners of the networks. and it was in this environment than that the written and photographic product emerged from vietnam and it was a matter of controversy from the
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beginning and we saw a picture earlier of malcolm brown's photographs of a buddhist monk, the first monk committing suicide by fire in 1963 and that was a picture that helped shape president kennedy's view that supported and wasn't doing an adequate job and henry cabot lodge later told me that he was -- that he had gone to the oval office to give his last instructions before being appointed and they were open and there was a picture of the burning monk on the front page and kennedy said that you better go over and change this. and we can't let this happen again. but interestingly enough, "the new york times" did not publish the photographs of them.
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so meaning that the editors of the united states, they were conscience of the nature of the images and about the controversy, which brings me to my favorite pictures, and i don't think favorite is the correct word. because i don't think any of the pictures from vietnam are looked at in a way that we admire them exactly. but my emotions are, you know, far more deeper and sad. it was the set of photographs that were taken by the great ap photographer of german nationality, began in 1963 through 1964 and he spent a lot of time with the south vietnamese troops in the mekong delta and in the deep jungle to
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the west and off of vietnam and he would go there with american advisors and he was coming back with pictures of enormous brutality committed against ordinary vietnamese farmers and villagers. and these military operations were dictated by the government and is being necessary to rout out the viacom, they seemed to be plotting against the government. in fact what was happening was whole villages were being laid waste and there was one picture in particular that is in the book that shows a farmer holding the body of a child and a napalm fired strip was hanging loose
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from the body and the farmer was holding the child up to a personnel carrier with 10 to 15 south vietnamese soldiers that were disinterestedly looking at them and he was pleading with them and i don't know what he was saying. the soldiers moved on. he stayed around and he got other photographs of the terrible agony inflicted upon the local people. and that remains with me as very important because it illustrated the punishment that local people were taking in the war and secondly that the indifference of our allies in the war at that point, against the population in what was seen as a civil war and what they were talking about was a people's war, as we should have known from the french experience, that it was the role
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of the civilians supporting the communists and the hierarchy in government that won the war against the french. so those pictures that they had taken, which got him the pulitzer prize remain in my memory and another point about those pictures he developed the film and the president of the associated press was visiting, which he flew all the way from new york and he said, these are staggering and shopping. and i know in his heart of hearts, having been a reporter in being subject to censorship, he had some in the session about the pictures and the authority to say that okay, guys, let's hold these for a wild and do we really have to put them out there. but what he did say is look, we
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are going to use those pictures. but i want you to write a story pointing out that the viacom is also committing atrocities and at least try to balance it out. so i did that. and there was no way to balance the power of those pictures and thank you. >> thank you, peter. around the proverbial block, a few times you have been come around iraq and afghanistan, when you look at the pictures in this book, are there any of them that particularly jump out to you or anything that you care to share with us about the work in the book? >> one is a color photo in the book and it is of a squad waiting for an evacuation helicopter to land and pick up
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the wounded. when i was in the a rock and a little bit and afghanistan, i have spent quite a bit of time on the evacuation helicopters. when i look at the photograph despite the different environments and we had this, nothing has changed. our member being in helicopters and looking down and circling before we landed and there was a guy looking up at us just like that and like we were dropping from the sky to pick up their buddies. and it brought back a lot of memories and i'm not sure what year that that was shot. 1968, you can do the math. and it doesn't matter that we are 4050 years later and still the same scenario with emotions running through and the other photo that jumped out at me was,
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i believe it was up here. it was of civilians in a ditch and that struck me because i was embedded with u.s. troops, but i was always very curious about how a war could affect the people were was being fought and i am always curious about the civilians that were noncombatants and that something about that photograph when i first saw that made me realize that there was something lacking in the pictures i made uninhabited access to a lot of the populations because of cultural differences. and a lot of the women and children are always behind walls and you never see them and you never see their eyes or their emotions or their expressions or anything and then i remember being frustrated about that.
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in afghanistan especially. rob, we had a little bit more access. so those two images jump out with what i just described. and i always wish that i had a chance to somehow get in behind those walls while the battles were being fought and sort of to bring home this together and bring home people's thoughts and feelings as these things are happening and we are all the same. you look at the people in the images anything that i could be anybody. that could be in a rocky or in afghanistan or an american that we brought home here. >> thank you, julie. >> one of the pictures it is arguably one of the most iconic to come out of the vietnam war is a photograph of a young girl running down the highway and covered in napalm screaming as a result of the pain that she was
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in. you're all familiar with the picture and nick took that picture and i thought it might be interesting if he shared with us what happened that day and what it was like to make that picture and events afterwards. ..
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>> then black smoke end and then the little boy called him. when i took a picture i said what happened?
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in he took a picture. i had water. and then i bought the raincoat and i carried him. all the time yelling i am dying. i am dying. but then i showed my immediate past. [laughter] but my job by nevada dr. i want to help before i go to
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the office. too many people love the doctor or lawyer lawyer. so that then drive away. >>. >> so when nicole would come in with these pictures then to draw attention to the nakedness but considering
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the aspects he was in charge of the of fatah production to say no. but in the end that it be that picture and others from the series and there was a debate and it was widely published. voter shocked to some degree but widely published. >> but then i said we have a daughter now.
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>> the wonderful part of the story is he continued to be interested in the young. in that part of the war that he would later pick up the story as treatment and now they are very close friends today and it is a wonderful story to do something positive of the of victims. it is not so unusual. >> so i thought it might be
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good if we open it up to questions now with day may have of coverage of the war in general? >> i am interested in photography and back it new york with the picture of of world war ii and to is there a different approach they add a traditional photographer other than the obvious dangers is there one that depends on and when the photographer is? >>. >> other than the simple
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dangers? how we can cover things you are not free to move around like chickens with the normal assignment but the approach is very much the same. to treat every ready with respect and compassion to put yourself in the other person's shoes to find balance to make sure your fare and interpretation is fair and balanced. to not have access to the afghan of population. that creates the imbalance but there is nothing i can do about it. >> i think in general other
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than looking out for yourself or people around you while you are there to take into account for the most part s is available a two-seat people regard this if it is more or at home. sometimes i tell friends and colleagues that at least for me when i about covering the conflict is about getting the story about. your priority is now looking out for each other that
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things are always first so with that respect, yes. and also looking out for the people that you are with them are civilians at that point. >> and i might add to that covering the conflict the stakes are high that's you are involved in a great danger and people are dying or living the worst moments of their life ended is your job to photograph and a way that tells a story and also preserves that dignity as possible. the combination of all of those but photography has a strong and creative element.
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but it also has a journalistic element. still a lot of what you do to cover these stories to concentrate on telling the story as effectively as possible. end to waste that opportunity by merely making the esthetically pleasing pictures with possibly defeats the purpose. there is a strong tendency to focus on the story to communicate that. and it is very mission driven. the common factor when you talk to the photographers to go to conflicts or wars, they are
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extraordinarily focused or driven because they believe their work has value. it is debatable the power of photography and other people argue it is complete the few child but there is a value that without it you would not know what was going on. to make the notion of impunity that much more powerful and to bear witness , we are stripping the excuse of the impunity away from the people who do these terrible saying this -- things. do you have anything to add? >> with coverage and
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conflict is an important factor. vietnam as -- did i mention it did not get around to opposing controls of the media. as stated in 1967 when he was asked you are complaining about the media constantly, why do you impose censorship? it is too important a decision to make to influence is so much else that we don't feel the amount is biggy enough to do it. but they are unwilling to impose censorship because lyndon johnson and others kept believing it was a limited war and lyndon
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johnson had domestic policy ideas but having said that, the of military much prefers an environment that goes back to the american civil war when photographers were all over the battlefield and those are some of the most part rendering pictures you would never say. world war i and two censorship prevailed with the propaganda chief of the not sees with thousands of german media people not to take a photograph of any dead german soldier. the american government decreed no photographs of dead americans be published on towel and 1943 when prose -- president roosevelt lifted the order because he was concerned about the
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public about the propaganda images they were seeing in the newspaper about how the war was going. so the memory was clear during the vietnam war. today is the embedded system is controlling. and when it is exercised in its entirety photographers would not be allowed to take pictures of wounded or dead americans. generally you were not allowed anywhere near the bodies of american troops and in addition is the written description putting it into a context and under the embedded systems to
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control commentary from the ideas within the military, i was abetted several times said iraq but the unit was very difficult to get the information that would make the understanding clear. it was criticized in the second goal for to go along with george of the bush invasion plans and policies affecting several media including "the new york times" about the nature of the coverage that the american public probably deserved. >> host: any other questions?
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>> my approach is the same as here but i love all of commitment is raised. but here for three or four weeks you get to know them. that we would not be pals but you get to know them even more and then i felt guilty leaving. the way they expressed the enjoyment that the approval to have you there peopled get to see how is i found myself taking that voice a way. i figured at some point a
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journalist would come along but i did not know how long it would be. >> thank-you. for what you all are doing. my question dovetails for what it had done for the little girl. to say the stories are not that, but be in the situation and and to be so intimate i would imagine they often look at u.s. a friendly face or a hopeful face or someone that they could connect to the outside of the madness? what is that like for you
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all and have you had challenges with that? and tour draw a line but how is it when you have the children or the mother's you mentioned you did not have that much access but peter it seems that you were in it. how was that for them? >> the ap and vietnam we had vietnamese photographers. they were vietnamese from the military and accepted within the vietnamese communities. because of their determination and the eagerness with the american
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troops also, how do you feel with of military? how did you get along? civic we have no trouble. a great bid will come from media. to say to take my picture i would travel everywhere. i took a lot of pictures but i never had trouble. >> but julie's commons really resonated they get to like you and you enjoy be around them. it was said at the time the
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press and of military were fighting each other that they would never have the press back but at what level of the political level or the white house level the pentagon brass was not happy to see the stories. why were they not happy? not because they were inaccurate but to say you can do anything you like as long as it is true. make one mistake, we will get you. but they said they want the truth. but the truth hurts the kennedy and johnson and nixon did registration. and they were prevailing
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upon the editors and publishers and news directors to disregard the material that the level of the soldier of the stories that i wrote from the vietnam for three weeks every month for days on end with the calvary division was rarely an incident where you were even criticized by the unit commanders. they felt your presence was the interco part of how america fights wars. said beloved reporter of world war ii that wrote about the american soldiers with great sensitivity and who died in the field.
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and to this day we go to reunions of military units we were at the hotel where they put us up. great accommodations there were a lot of reid is there a and they are supportive of the book. so from my experience soldiers like to have civilian types around them. >> anything more to add? >> all your coverage is great. i admire your riding but you
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are operating on one side but you may have some control of the news coverage but then you have the side like vietnam that was repressive of any information coming out. especially like cambodia once where dick long was a river port bombed by mistake by american airplanes and that had a lot of coverage but you had that kabir rouge who was totally brutal but somehow they were there but i don't take the bdm had given the american people they immediately emptied this city i think that was the first idea most americans had that these people were psycho killers.
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although it had been said all along. so even if you cover one side the photographs representative of the truce but on the other hand, on the other side it is totally controlled so their atrocities and brutalities are covered up until finally it is taken over. maybe that is a crazy idea? >> you are absolutely right that is the difference between the democratic form of government and a dictatorship. you have to remember as far as the american public is concerned the communist was evil incarnate. recall the terrorist was not the vietcong soldier there were a terrorist attack of
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the government outpost. week killed 30 terrorist here and now we know they were organized political force fighting for a natural causes but we did not have to have pictures of them committing atrocities we were told that was happening all the time. why was america in vietnam with half a million troops to save from these vicious people and if that is the spread of communism through southeast asia with lbj or nixon. it was not our job to talk about the aside.
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the kinds of pictures and reporting that we did reflected the view of americans in vietnam at the time within the fisa record in the military it is not as though theft the reason i know that is true is assigned to iago's says we work with the associated press but in those days it was probably 2300. every picture we tuckahoe and every story that the reporters wrote appeared in the paper and if we mentioned a local they've been at what headline.
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people would clip the story and send it to their son. they knew exactly what we were writing and photographic and then going back to the vets. they saw the product it was rare we were denied entry to a unit over the course of a war. maybe half a dozen times for reasons of a misinterpretation that we were telling the real story the kind of policies to make headway but not from what the americans deserve. >> so '02 try to get as many
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sides of this story not necessarily this story but as many as possible and many organizations historically strive to do that. for example, id afghanistan and iraq there were robust networks of videographers covering the aspects of this story that were impossible for the western journalists because it was too dangerous so it was that kind of comprehensive coverage that strives to give the balance what is going on what happens often is for whatever reason his -- it is impossible to tell both sides because it is dangerous and what we saw
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from the of carriers takeover of cambodia was minimal to nonexistence because it was impossible for westerners to have their control has no independent journalism but in syria today extraordinarily difficult story to cover because of a logistics and the rebel groups fighting the assad regime. it was possible to send in a tv journalist to cover this story carefully and as a well-planned operation embedded the last year it has become impossible because the various rebel groups have started to conduct foreign journalist right now there are as many 84 journalists that have thank kidnapped some stories have made public and some have not.
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the changes will whole equation of the coverage and has made them off-limits for independent journalism to tell what is going on now the only information is coming out is the agenda driven the information that is provided by activist groups of the crown to. know those that interpret that the information it is of far cry. and it shifts the of babies see a story when the situation on the ground is too hazardous as committed as the organizations are, there comes a point it is suicidal. if you go to these places
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you will certainly be killed or abducted can quite reasonably you have this dynamic. >> it has been 50 years since vietnam and mickey and peter have obviously incredible insight into what went on at the time but 50 years of reflection you must of had opinions in retrospect regarding the vietnam war i could be interested to hear your comments about that statement that is a pretty big subject. that was 70 years ago. i feel too old to answer
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that question. in two years is the 40th anniversary. how do you feel about the war? was it worth ameritech going to your country to help your people to create a free society? >> i am happy i saw people died i travel. that is why i took the picture because i hoped the war would be over. but then i was helped to become a refugee to travel to japan and hong kong.
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and now live there as a visitor. >> you asked me but i started to collect books in vietnam there is not many books in english available but now there are thousands available in english on vietnam's almost all titles comes from a theory of the war. i lived in orange county ears saigon with the vietnamese that would come out at the fall very successfully they own the banks and the restaurants and lots of businesses there of well educated but to a person they are unhappy they
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will tell you that the war should have said wide. -- has been one but they realize there are weaknesses within their own government and they feel that they were supporting locker that and the support did come. i don't agree i feel the u.s. and already done much more than say a president eisenhower or kennedy ever foresaw. they had recent vietnam was a domino to be held up with neighboring countries might
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fall to be the communists push eisenhower has that idea and kennedy it agreed to a peace agreement that gave congress is half the country so clearly have the importance to official at the time to the negotiate the deal. so to by way of thinking, a kennedy had ideas to develop the kreme array the heroic forces was fighting the early wars even he by the third term in office started to pull american troops out so it would strike me that kennedy would be seen to try to